Winter driving advice - vinter
Have been reading with interest the discussions regarding winter conditions. I live in Sweden, a country where winter is long and snow/ice often commonplace. I'd like to share with you some of the rules in place here which I hope may be of help.
Use of winter tyres is a legal requirement from the 1/12 but allowed from the 1/10. Here we use two types of tyre, studded and high friction winter tyres. It is generally accepted that studded tyres give better grip on ice and snow. The non-studded friction tyre has to be marked with MS (mud and snow) to qualify as a suitable winter tyre. Look out for that marking if you're going to invest in some winter wheels!
All 4 tyres have to be of the same type. Most importantly tread depth of 3mm. Worn tyres are not going to give the same protection so check yours.
Another recommendation given here is to use the better condition tyres on the rear wheels, even on front wheel drive vehicles.
A lot of people here use non studded tyres. The official line is that non-studded used on a vehicle without ESP is not to be recommended. Please do not switch your ESP system off, it is a life saver. Whatever else you made read elsewhere, statistics here show best protection from loss of control in winter conditions is cars with suitable winter tyres in good condition equipped with ESP. Non studded winter tyres with ESP switched off is dangerous, summer tyres with no ESP should not be contemplated.
Hope this helps, remember, at least 3mm of tread, good friction tyres marked M&S, ESP on(if you have it), keep your distance, plan driving to avoid sudden braking.
Drive safely
Winter driving advice - jon-

Great post, thanks.

There's still a huge lack of understanding in the UK about winter tyres, most people think winter tyres mean snow tyres which we know isn't true.

Your European Nordic studless winter tyres are slightly different from the winter tyres we'll need in the UK, as for our roads we need less extreme snow performance and a greater all round performance in the dry / wet. TyreReviews has a useful winter tyre buying guide for the UK climate which might help some. Studded tyres would be useless in this climate, unless you can take them off and on at will!

Even with the best tyres in the world, it's still good advice to only make journeys if you 100% have to in the snow. Even if you have the right winter tyres on your car, there's a good chance someone else won't and slide into you.


Winter driving advice - nortones2

I thought M&S related to tread pattern only, and its no indication of rubber compound designed for cold conditions. For cold weather, a high friction tyre has to have a mountain and snowflake graphic - nothing else is relevant SFAIK.

Winter driving advice - nortones2

Further to my comment, this site has some information relevant to winter tyres: snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=59926

Winter driving advice - BigJohnD

For Brits who only encounter snow and ice two or three days a year, consider AutoSock
http://www.autosock.co.uk/

Winter driving advice - vinter

Hi again,

Regards to the marking of the tyres, yes the snowflake mark must be on non-studded friction tyres.

Good point made about other drivers not using correct tyres for the conditions. Unless the use of winter tyres or autosocks/snow chains is made law then there will always be, and probably a majority, who drive using unsuitable tyres for the temperature/road conditions. In that case it is better to stay off the roads if possible.

Remember too that your winter tyres do have a life span, with non-studded winter tyres the most important factor to give your vehicle the best grip and skid protection is the tread. And store your tyres correctly too to give them the best life span.

We've currently got serious minus degrees and snow/ice where I live. Of course experience of driving on ice/snow is one of the most important factors and not over estimating your abilities or the cars electronic systems. I'm from the UK, learnt to drive in Sweden though where winter driving is a core part of driving training. If you get the opportunity I'd thoroughly recommend an hour or two on the skid pan, educational to experience how the braking system reacts during a skid and differences that a few mph make to you chances of recovering a skid or ending up in a ditch or in the worst case scenario another car or central reservation.

Winter driving advice - Collos25

M&S stands for Matsch + Schnee for the unlightened.

Winter driving advice - nortones2

For the M&S mark, no testing is involved. RMA term - an American organisation. auto.howstuffworks.com/tire3.htm

Winter driving advice - Mike H
All 4 tyres have to be of the same type. Most importantly tread depth of 3mm.

4mm in most of Europe (e.g. Germany & Austria). And to clarify, certainly in Austria there is no requirement for them to be the same make or tread pattern, they just need to be the same type as in size etc. Believe it's the same in Germany.

Edited by Mike H on 26/11/2010 at 21:34

Winter driving advice - Collos25

The new laws in Germany come into effect next monday they can then enforce the winter tyre rules,fines from €35 to €5000 dependant on circumstances.Winter tyres have to have the Snowflake symbol and the m&s notation ,there appears to be no time limit as to there use but in snowy conditions is a must.Stop checks are envisaged in the first few months were they will check the tyres for type and tread depth according to my local paper.

Winter driving advice - dieseldogg

I was totally beat for the first time in my 35 year driving career this evening, on Drumrammer Brae, Bridgestone Turazan s***e on a new Skoda Octavia.

I have been driving an Ould Galaxy this past twelve years on various nondescript Hankook and other reinforced Van tyres (15"rims)

And NEVER been beat. In, to the best of my knowledge, similar conditions.

So much for progress!

So I will be pricing steel rims & winter tyres on Monday.

Or perhaps jist take the Steyr Puch when it snows?

Edited by dieseldogg on 27/11/2010 at 20:57

Winter driving advice - nortones2

I quite fancy a Defender for the Peak district, which is a frequent destination. Family reasons. But only with winter tyres:) We may be moving to Buxton permanently: need to think about access to NHS specialities. However, SWMBO possibly has other views on a vehicle that is robust (but crude). On the positive side driver possibly less affected by angst from tailgaters (steel girders front and back, not rep-pristine but benefiting from a scarred/ dented patina Volvos etc might respect) and other road scum. But at least we'd have a sporting chance of getting about.

Winter driving advice - dieseldogg

a 4*4 Fiat Panda would suffice

Or a Skoda Yeti

But more importantly ........................on WINTER TYRES

jat

M

Edited by dieseldogg on 27/11/2010 at 21:46

 

Ask Honest John

Value my car